Welcome rainfall from Tropical Storm Hilary comes to Missoula

Heavy rain inundated the Missoula valley and much of western Montana on Monday as the remnants of Tropical Storm Hilary made its way north from the South Pacific Ocean.

The National Weather Service predicted the Missoula area would see anywhere from .25 inches to 1.25 inches of rainfall on Monday, with more moisture continuing through Tuesday. The precipitation, which started on Sunday afternoon, is fallout from Hilary, a severe tropical storm causing floods in Southern California.

“In general, rain is good,’’ said Joe Messina, a Missoula-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service. “The amount of rain we’re seeing now might be too much, since burn scars are more susceptible to flash flooding.”

Wildfires ravaged western Montana last week, though Sunday and Monday’s precipitation gave firefighters the chance to curb some of the fires’ spread.

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On Friday afternoon the River Road East fire erupted in Sanders County just 6 miles east of Plains. It’s actively burning and over the weekend the fire ballooned to about 16,790 acres. It remains 0% contained. Fire officials predicted Monday’s moderate weather might limit the spread of the blaze.

It triggered an evacuation order for some Paradise-area

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